Today, House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi issued a statement urging the President Bush to do more to help Americans struggling under the weight of the current economy. “While there is no quick fix to repair our struggling economy, more must be done to begin to reverse the economic mismanagement of the past seven years. Congress is prepared to work with the Bush Administration to help alleviate the serious economic hardship facing America’s families.”
Pelosi called for increased funding for several federal programs. “In contrast to the President, we believe that further decisive action is needed now. We must consider extending unemployment benefits, providing food stamp assistance, and providing targeted fiscal relief to states to avoid cuts to critical services. We must also do more to help families avoid foreclosure, which is why I am pleased that Chairman Barney Frank is leading this effort in the House.”
The Food Stamp and Unemployment programs are under a great deal of strain currently as prices continue to rise while jobless claims are also growing. Usually prosperous states such as Rhode Island have seen the number of applications for food stamps reach record highs. Last week, the Michigan Senate passed a bill that issue food stamps twice a month to recipients. However, Congress may thwart this effort with a new farm bill that would ban states from issuing food stamps more than once a month.
Over 100,000 private sector jobs were lost in February 2008, but the administration has been adamantly opposed to helping those who are hurting most right now. It is shameful that this administration was able to show more concern over bailing out Bear Stearns than giving a helping hand to those who need it most. The administration was willing to spend $30 billion on a corporate bail out, but has been balked at any spending on domestic programs. In fact, their proposed 2009 budget slashes all domestic spending, but provides an 11% increase to the military budget. Pelosi is right, we need a government whose first priority is the American people, not special interests.